Photo by Jan Osborn.

Story by Jan Osborn. Published originally for Dallas Doing Good.

THE HALLS OF the Grant Halliburton Foundation are lined by artwork. A collection of sketches and paintings, the art illustrates the complexity of Grant Halliburton, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. 

“I’ll never forget the day that the school counselor called me and said, ‘I have to tell you something. Your son has been hurting and harming himself.’ I was 1,000 miles away from home on a business trip,” his mother, Vanita Halliburton, says.

“When she said that we were going to need to get help for Grant, I just sat down on the curb and cried,” she says. “I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know he was hurting.”

After the call from the school, Grant received mental health care for the next five years. 

Grant turned down college scholarships from some of the top art schools in the country. Halliburton remembers he told her, “I don’t want to go to college. I don’t want to do anything.”  

He eventually agreed to go to The University of Texas at Austin. Grant came home one weekend and told Vanita that he didn’t think he could live a normal life without some serious help. 

 “It was incredibly hard to find out where to go. Even the therapist couldn’t say for sure,” Halliburton says. 

Grant checked into a mental health facility, where he received his diagnosis. He stayed for 30 days. As part of the release process, hospital staff reminded him to take his medication, get plenty of rest and stick to a schedule.

Just two weeks after leaving the hospital, Grant jumped from a 10-story building, just one block away from home in the middle of a clear November day.

“We didn’t know what we needed to know,” Halliburton says. “I didn’t know that the time right out of a psychiatric stay of any kind for anybody at any age is one of the highest risk times for suicide.”

It was the following January when Vanita began framing Grant’s art for a gallery showing. They hoped the 30-day exhibit would start conversations around mental health.

“Our initial goal was to help people know what I didn’t know,” Halliburton says. 

She attended suicide prevention and mental health conferences. Now the Grant Halliburton Foundation focuses on sharing practical information. 

“We want every parent, adult, teachers, counselors, friends, relatives in the lives of children to know what these signs look like as readily as we know the signs of an oncoming cold,” Halliburton says. 

In 2019, the Grant Halliburton Foundation opened its Mental Health Navigation Line.

“We felt it was important that people would have a number to call and say whatever they needed to say and know that someone was listening,” Halliburton says. 

The navigation line is monitored Monday through Friday and is completely volunteer driven. All volunteers have 40 hours of training in mental health and empathetic listening. They are taught how to manage a call and learn the software to correctly gather all of the information input for the file. Within 24 hours the caller has been emailed a list of resources that fit their needs, insurance, ability to pay, where they live, whatever the circumstances. 

If you need help finding mental health resources, call Here For Texas Mental Health Navigation Line at 972.525.8181.

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